Last Thursday saw our senior scientists take a trip to the RDS. There they met up with many other budding experimenters and observed, evaluated and recorded lots of wonderful and interesting ideas. We make a date every year to go and being so close to such amenities certainly makes it easy to have a fun day trip.
The annual Young Scientist & Technology Expo began 48 years ago, which is if you ask our senior class students makes it simply ancient! This year saw over 520 different projects on display, with over 1700 applicants for those coveted slots. Making it one of the largest events of its kind in Europe attracting around 40,000 visitors, among which on the day we visited was the new President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. We just missed him but I’m sure we’ll get to meet him soon.
The learning possibilities for our students trying out the projects on display were endless and we tried their hand at quite a few.
On entering the exhibition area we were met by a supercomputer robot that could complete a Rubik’s cube in record time. The Rubik’s cube has been a much-discussed stocking stuffer this year and the students were amazed at the robots ability to analyse and complete the formula so quickly. It certainly left them eager to get home and challenge themselves to do the same.
Another favourite was the Giant Operation. The Christmas family game of old was revamped and resized manifold and our young surgeons had great fun competing for the steadiest hand in Hedley. All that practical life from their younger 3-6 days paying off as they extracted body part after body part with precision.
As if the tension of steady hand surgery wasn’t enough they found a really tense experiment. Yet again a steady hand and nerves of steel were required as the children worked in pairs. The exhibitor held a plastic bag of water over one child’s head as their partner pierced the bag with a sharp pencil, pushing the pencil the whole way through. Waiting for a shower the student beneath the bag was surprised to find that not a drop was spilled!
Why? The plastic bag is made out of long chains of molecules called polymers. This gives the bag its stretchy properties. The sharpened pencils slip between the molecule strands without tearing the entire bag. Believe it or not, the long chains of molecules seal back around the pencil to prevent leaks.
We attempted 14 pencils until the poor polymer strands gave up and the bag finally burst.
Musical circuit fun was next on the agenda as we got to try our hand at playing an oversize circuit keyboard. Dueting partners at the ready we danced and played to our hearts content.
Body tired but mind full of fun and learning we took our helium balloons back on the bus to school to record our big science day out.
Here is a report from one of the seniors:
“Today we went to the young scientist exhibition in the RDS. It was really fun. We went in to the primary science fair. My favourite experiment was science of building bridges. We got balloons and a calendar and pen. We played huge operation and floor piano. We went on a double decker bus, it was so cool. I love the science exhibition.”
We can’t wait until next year!